McArthur House Hotel

The Quebec and Ottawa House Hotel burned to the ground on April 16, 1874 [CP 17 April 1874; 3 : 24 April 1874; 2]. In early June 1874 the rubble of the old hotel was removed from the north-west corner of Colborne and Water streets. Construction began immediately afterwards on Joseph McArthur’s new brick hotel. Todd and Maddock had the contract for the carpentry while the brick work was let to a contractor from Lindsay [CP 5 June 1874: 3]. By mid-July the foundation was laid, and by September the walls were near completion. The “magnificent” three-storey building, with a frontage of 66 feet, opened for business in December1. Alexander McArthur leased the business and acted as the proprietor; he was granted a tavern license on February 1st 1875. On October 1st, 1878 Robert Rutherford “took possession of the lease” [CP 27 Sept 1878; 2]. He acted as proprietor until March 1881 when he sold out to E. Pauwels [sic] of Cobourg [FFG 2 April 1881: 2]. Pauwels immediately overhauled and refitted the hotel and added new furniture [FFG 18 June 1881; 2], however, he sold the lease to Nobel Ingram in August of 1882 [FFG 12 Aug 1882; 2].

Ingram was well known in the village as the former proprietor of the Mansion House Hotel and he made many changes to his new venture. He closed up the Colborne Street entrance to the hotel yard, built a billiards room, and began construction of a stone stable in 1883 [FFG 21 July 1883: 2]. He also constructed a new driving shed and built a stone wall along the yard beside May Street in 1884 [FFG 6 Dec 1884; 2]. In 1886, when fire destroyed much of the old wooden buildings of the adjoining McArthur Block, a third floor was added to the buildings then under construction for additional hotel rooms1 [CP 27 Sept 1886; 6]. By October a thorough overhaul and refitting had been accomplished [FFG 29 Oct 1886; 3].

In 1892 Ingram sold out to George Raper, a young man from Millbrook, who took possession on April 27th2 [FFG 29 April 1892; 4]. Raper did not last long as he sold to John Aldous, of Mono Mills, in February 1893 [FFG 10 Feb 1893; 5]. In 1904 the Souvenir of Fenelon Falls described the hotel as follows:

“This large and commodious Hotel, a picture of which appears in this booklet, is most centrally located on the banks of the canal, facing on Colborne St. It is a handsome three-story building and is fitted with an immense dining room, good sample rooms, a number of public and private parlors, and has first-class accommodation for fully 70 guests. In addition to offering first class accommodation for the tourist and commercial trade, it is supplied with large and splendidly kept stone stables, which supply every convenience for travelers driving in, or the farming community. The proprietor, Mr. John Aldous, is well-known and his house is always well patronized.”

John Aldous and his family operated the hotel until 1947 [FF Then & Now; 73]. Aldous died at the age of 83 in 1936. Fragments of the building still survive on the corner of Colborne and Water streets.

492 There is a full description of the hotel in the Canadian Post [CP 25 Dec 1874: 3]. 493 These new rooms appear to have been formally leased in March 1887 [CP 25 March 1887; 5]. See also under McArthur Block. 494 Is there any connection to the fact that Ingram left but a few months before the death of his landlord, Joseph McArthur?

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